5

The only current page I found for this device is this Chinese one, which didn't clarify anything. It looks like she's digitizing a blueprint.

A young lady operating a pedal and a mouse-like device on a table labeled "d-moc" wired to a keyboard, ticker tape, camera, and presumably a computer.

  • 1
    Digitizers similar to this were still widely used until the late 1990s for digitizing old hand drawn maps & plans: surface contours, street layouts, surface features & old underground mines. To get get the correct elevations for the digitized surface data a digital terrain model (DTM) would be created from ground surveys and the digitized data draped over the DTM. For underground mines, with several levels a little bit of guess work was involved because most of the underground openings could be be surveyed. – Fred Oct 18 '18 at 11:46
10

That is the D-Mac Cartographic Digitiser, seen here in the 1968 Design journal (Issue 234):

D-Mac Cartographic Digitiser

It seems the D-Mac Cartographic Digitiser was developed from an earlier device called the D-Mac Pencil Follower, shown here in the 1968 Design journal:

D-Mac Pencil Follower

Both devices appear to be early types of graphics tablet.

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    Looks similar. But the box on the table and the actual computer cabinet do not match. Looking through some old newspapers I get the impression that they had quite a few versions on sale. This is even stranger: box more vintage, cabinet better matching? – LangLangC Oct 17 '18 at 22:14
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    And it was developed at the arts department? – LangLangC Oct 17 '18 at 22:15
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    @LangLangC The picture shows the "Type CF" (which looks to have had a Winchester disk, rather than punched tape storage). D-Mac were subsequently bought by Ferranti-Cetec in the 1970s, and units produced after that had the Ferranti-Cetec brand. – sempaiscuba Oct 17 '18 at 22:35
  • The table and pedal appear to be of the Digitiser, but the rest of the Pencil Follower, which appears to have modularized (and added support for the pedal?) the black box that was attached to its smaller table. – Cees Timmerman Oct 17 '18 at 22:55
  • That's perfectly possible. The "control pedestal" and "electronics console" (as the article describes them) would probably have been selected for the particular application and/or budget. – sempaiscuba Oct 17 '18 at 23:02
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I was a design engineer with Dobbie McInnes ending up as Chief Engineer for Digitising Systems at Ferranti Infographics, so I can comment on these pictures. The centre picture is of a mid 1960s CF digitiser, using the Pencil Follower table developed by Dr Boyle under contract to the Canadian Geographical Information System project. The control cabinet on the right has a patch panel on the front to fix the format of the data output - the unit on the top is an incremental magnetic tape recorder - a hard disc output was never used directly. There were apparently many varieties made but this was because each one was a "special".

The top and bottom pictures are late 1960s System 1 digitisers, manufactured with discrete transistors etc. These digitisers were more standardised so their appearance is similar, although many individual customisations were made. The item on the top of both of these is a BRPE high-speed paper tape punch (110 chars/sec) which despite being in a soundproofing case made an appalling noise when running. The box under the table in the upper picture is the Servo Power supply, not usually placed on the floor but inside the cabinet. This is also an interesting picture as there's a projector on the wall and a large mirror above the table to allow slides to be digitised.

The middle and bottom pictures were taken in the foyer of D-Mac's factory in Hillington Glasgow. I remember it well! If you want further information on these and later systems or the companies involved, please ask.

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